One of the more interesting moves to occur as Activision Blizzard came under fire for workplace toxicity and sexual harassment included the resignation of former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. In his place, former Xbox executive Mike Ybarra and Vicarious Visions lead Jen Oneal stepped into the roles of co-presidents of Blizzard in his place. One of them wasn’t meant to last apparently, though. Jen Oneal has announced an exit from Activision Blizzard, effective immediately.
Activision Blizzard officially confirmed the exit of Jen Oneal during its Q3 2021 earnings results call, alongside a press release on its investor relations website. A board member of the non-profit organization, Women in Gaming International (WIGI), Oneal is said to be turning her full attention towards boosting women and diversity in gaming. Having worked as a lead at Vicarious Vision for a long time, Oneal was originally meant to lead Blizzard Entertainment as a co-president alongside Mike Ybarra following previous president J. Allen Brack’s resignation. In turn, Activision Blizzard has put a $1 million USD grant towards WIGI in Jen Oneal’s honor.
Despite Activision Blizzard’s generous grant towards the non-profit on which Jen Oneal has played a large role, the details of her exit are concerning to say the least. With Oneal's exit, Mike Ybarra becomes the sole president of Blizzard Entertainment for the foreseeable future, which many may see as concerning and dismissive of the female leadership element within Activision Blizzard as a whole. Moreover, there has been word that Jen Oneal’s exit was unexpected and unknown before today’s Q3 2021 earnings call, as noted via Washington Post reporter Nathan Grayson, which is further troubling if true.
blizzard employees are saying they found out about this during the shareholder call, which -- given the reason jen oneal and mike ybarra got these jobs in the first place -- is not a great look https://t.co/YBn8CfUnmX— Nathan Grayson (@Vahn16) November 2, 2021
Regardless of the circumstances, Jen Oneal appears to be moving out of the troubled Activision Blizzard to continue to pursue a positive influence within the gaming space for female and diverse developers and voices. With Activision continuing to face issues within its doors with an ongoing lawsuit and dissatisfied employees, it may be for the best that Oneal moves on to greener pastures.